Sep 17, 2010 8:37am
Whirlwind, Mando, Dark Star Orchestra and the NORVA: A Treatise on 1969
Almost stayed home because of a sinus infection that is kicking my ass - but after doubling up on Mucinex and Alka Seltzer Plus Cold fizzies to the point where it felt like ants were crawling on my skin, I went.
Pretty thin crowd for a DSO show, even for a "Thursday the week the snot gobblers went back to school and the tourists went home". 400 was generously estimated by my buddies in security.
Pretty much the standard age spectrum represented, and as my bad luck would have it I was standing in the "I hope we get to hear Brent tinkle on his keyboard" section.
I talked briefly with Rob Koritz (he drums Mickey's part)before the show - he said he and Dino had their work cut out for them so I thought something special might be in order.
So out come the boys, 3 mic stands so no Donna (Lisa), keys and Jeff Mattson to my left - they were starting to get my hopes up yes indeedy.
While they noodled and tuned and did the last minute level setting (that they already did during soundchecks but had to do again just to put on the show) I choked down bile every time one of the "kids" in the crowd shouted out "Blow Away" or "One Hundred Million, Zillion, Billion Thousand Pounds of Steel"
Out of the gate with "Good Morning Little School Girl" and it was interesting to see all the raised eyebrows - expectation on the faces of the "older, thicker and grayer" crowd and bewilderment on the faces of the youngsters. Particularly the young lass who started calling for Not Fade Away before the show started. I guess someone 'splained it to her because she got quiet after a bit.
Back to the unfolding show....there were different conversations buzzing all around, maybe it was an original setlist with some 60's stuff, maybe it was a just a couple of warmup tunes before they did whatever. To the very enthusiastic lad behind me (until Whirlwind and Sister Whirlwind showed up) - "No it wasn't 87 like last night in Charlottesville"
GMLSG gave way to Doin' That Rag and there was enough to hope for where we thought we were going. Cryptical>TOO>Cryptical sealed it - we were in February 1969 at Fillmore West.
Whirlwind and Sister Whirlwind show up right at the end of a 35+ minute TOO and we settle in for what we know is going to be a great second set.
Dupree's opens second set (like we knew it would), then Jeff Mattson picks up his acoustic and lays down a sweet Mountains of the Moon. We knew Dark Star was coming so we were only moderately annoyed when Not Fade Away Girl shows up again.
Dark Star kicked ass. Whirlwind tells the dude next to him, and behind me, that Saint Stephen is next - the guy looks at him like "No-way-can-you-know-that-it's-my-favorite-song." He jumped on my back in joy after the third note. As many times as I have seen DSO, I haven't seen them as "on" as they were last night. Saint Stephen was simply amazing - you could see the expressions on the faces of the older folks - DSO was almost "there", you really had to work to tell yourself that it wasn't real.
Apologies to anyone allergic to hyperbole..........
Yeah, it was that good. And just when we thought it couldn't get much better, they do the Prime Minister's bridge into Eleven. It was smokin'.
Lovelight and Cosmic Charlie were almost anticlimactic - but delivered with all the energy and aplomb.
They did another 4 or 5 songs after Cosmic - Hard To Handle, Promised Land, I'd have to check the setlist for the rest - most of us were still bouncing around the rafters. Without a doubt, the best DSO show I have seen in 8 years.
And with the ants still crawling on my skin I said goodbye to Whirlwind and Sister Whirlwind and went home.
Whirlwind - How'd the interview go this morning?